Echo – Bought Not Souled
1. Best Of My Love
2. (You’re Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher
3. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
4. You’re All I Need To Get By
5. Say A Little Prayer (Live)
6. Rescue Me
7. Reach Out I’ll Be There (Live)
8. I’ll Take You There (Live)
9. Something Inside (So Strong)
10. We Are Family
11. Thinking Of You
12. Dancing In The Street
13. Signed, Sealed, Delivered (Live)
East London and Essex based band Echo have taken some of the music they love, Motown and classic soul/dance, and given it a new lyrical twist to reflect the joy, truths and promises of their faith. To reflect their joy (and energy) of performing live, the album is a mix of quality studio recordings and joyous live recordings – giving you the true and full Echo experience. These songs have been enthusiastically received (and danced to) in the numerous gigs and events when Echo have performed – and that’s everywhere from festivals, to churches, pubs, carnivals, cafes and street parties! We know that you’ll love them too
What this bunch of singers and instrumentalists from London and Essex have done is take 13 soul and Motown classics and given them lyrical makeovers which point the way, and often, name check Jesus. Now such an idea is fraught with danger. But the band’s producer and bass-playing band member has been clever in selecting golden oldies whose lyrics are very near to gospel lyrics in the first place. Another plus are the arrangements, which largely manage to keep the groove of the originals without trying the impossible task of exactly replicating the Detroit or Philadelphia house bands. ‘Bought Not Souled’ is a warm-hearted and thoroughly enjoyable exercise. I for one would be pleased to see the band go through their paces live when they get to play Stoke-on-Trent – Cross Rhythms.
You may not have heard of this band, but the songs on Echo’s album will certainly be familiar to you. That’s because ‘Bought Not Souled‘ is full of Motown and classic soul songs that everyone has grown up with. Opening track ‘Best Of My Love‘ straight away gets you in that classic soul mood, full of brass sounds and finger snapping energy. The group cleverly sneak the occasional reference to their faith into the lyrics, without detracting from the song or pushing their message too heavily. “I like the way you make me feel about you, Jesus… You’ve got the best of my love”.
The great thing about this album is that every track is a classic hit, loved by millions over such a long period. And the great thing about classics like that is that they truly span the generations. The older music fan will remember these from the first time around, while the younger ones will have heard them at parties, clubs, TV shows and movies. The album also mixes up studio recordings with a smattering of live recordings, like the timeless ‘Say A Little Prayer‘. The live recording adds almost a touch of hiss to the sound quality, enforcing the feeling of a 60s gramophone sound.
‘Rescue Me‘, ‘Reach Out I’ll Be There‘ and ‘I’ll Take You There‘ are just another few examples of songs that everyone will be familiar with, they’ve probably been used in adverts and turned up on X Factor, but it’s ‘Something Inside (So Strong)‘ that I’ve always loved as a song. The emotion in the words just brings me out in goosebumps as the brilliant vocalists sing, “Deny my place in time, you squander wealth that’s mine, My light will shine so brightly, it will blind you ’cause there’s Something inside so strong.” I’m probably biased, picking this as my standout track, as I’ve always loved the song – but it’s more than just a great song, musically it is performed to an exceptional standard, with drums, guitars and singers all excelling.
I was only a year old when Sister Sledge had a hit with ‘We Are Family‘ (shows my age!), but if ever there was a song more well known, I don’t know what it is. It’s one of those songs that always gets people singing along. I love the build up to ‘Thinking Of You‘, another musical high on this album, and of course no album like this would be complete without ‘Dancing In The Street‘, but it’s the final track ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered‘ that really sums up Motown. Stevie Wonder’s much-covered anthem has all the essentials of a soul masterclass, with swagger, fun and great music.
I’ve never really considered myself a Motown fan, but these songs are just such a part of the musical institution that even a skeptic like me can’t help but enjoy hearing them. Let’s face it, everyone needs an album like this in their collection. It’s just the thing to bring out at parties, or when you need a little lift – Louder Than The Music.
Echo is a band that includes three singing sisters who’ll remind you of The Emotions, The Pointer Sisters and many others who’ve come before them. Indeed, Echo covers several famous soulful songs on their new release, “Bought Not Souled,” including “Best of My Love,” “We Are Family,” and “Dancing In The Street.” Several live tracks are included on “Bought Not Souled,” like “Say A Little Prayer” and “I’ll Take You There,” and it’s fun listening to their take on these tunes, bringing the name of Jesus into classic soul songs. Hailing from the UK (East London/Essex to be exact), Echo combines soul, funk, and Gospel with passion, faith and lots of energy. Definitely check them out – Mark Weber Music Blog (USA)